Review of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door – Paper RPG

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The role-playing game Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door from Intelligent Systems, the creators of not only the Paper Mario series, but also Fire Emblem, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. The original game, which is the second part of this franchise, was released in 2004 on the Nintendo GameCube and received a warm reception not only from reviewers. The players themselves simply fell in love with it, and many still remember it as one of the best role-playing games they have ever played. That’s why there was near-universal enthusiasm when a remake for the Nintendo Switch was announced last fall, promising mostly modern audiovisuals as well as some gameplay changes. So how did it all end and is TTYD still worth it after 20 years?

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  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publication date: 05/23/2024
  • Developer: Intelligent systems
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Genre: RPG
  • Czech localization: No
  • Multiplayer: No
  • Download data: 5 GB
  • Game time: ~40 hours
  • Price: 1349 CZK (Alsa)

Paper Adventure

It all begins with Princess Peach sending Mario a map that will lead to a mysterious treasure hidden beneath the crime-ridden town of Rogueport. Mario goes there, but soon discovers that Peach herself has been kidnapped, so his goal is not only to reveal the secret of the treasure, but also (again) to save the princess. But he has a long way to go, because in order to open the 1000-year-old door guarding the treasure, he will have to get 7 crystal stars located in different parts of the world. And he is far from the only one who wants them.

As for the plot, you certainly shouldn’t expect anything too complex, which is what we’re used to from Nintendo. However, by its own standards, this is definitely one of the more interesting stories in which we develop on several fronts. In addition to Mario, during the break between chapters you will also play as Peach, and even as Bowser, although overall he plays a rather small role.

The main plot is fairly predictable, but some aspects still manage to offer interesting twists. In any case, the story is greatly aided by the dialogue, which is therefore text-only (like most other Nintendo games, there is no voice acting at all), but it is excellently written and full of pleasant humor. While the vast majority seems to be light-hearted, the game still manages to touch on deeper themes that have an impact on reality even 20 years later.

The visual pleases both aesthetically and technically.

Not only the story, but almost every other aspect anyway benefits from one of the main strengths of this game – variety. During his journey, Mario will visit several extremely diverse locations, be it a castle inhabited by a dragon, a huge tree full of cute little creatures, an airy city, a dark village, a desert island or even a luxury train. .

It is in these contrasting places that the modern visual is fully manifested, which looks great in interiors and exteriors, in colorful and dark places. This is facilitated not only by the beautiful visual style, but also by the technical side of the graphics. The characters and environments are full of detail, which is complemented by great lighting and exceptionally good, fluid motion animation. Unfortunately, as is typical with Ninted, there is no anti-aliasing, so you won’t be able to avoid flickering or harsh edges. It doesn’t detract too much from the experience, but it’s definitely a shame because it’s the only flaw in an otherwise excellent visual.

Lower but stable frame rates

In any case, the frame rate is related to the visuals, which has been the subject of a bit of controversy. While the original GameCube game ran at 60fps, the Switch remake only ran at 30fps. Of course you’ll feel it, but since you’re not in control of the camera, it’s not a major issue in terms of smoothness.

A little worse might be the lag, which is quite high considering the frame rate. Combat would definitely be better if it ran at a higher frame rate, but at the same time, I can’t say that it would make the game noticeably more difficult for me. In short, 30 FPS seems fine to me for this game, mainly because the frame rate is stable. The only noticeable crash I encountered was maybe two or three times, and that was during transitions between animations and cutscenes, so it didn’t even affect the gameplay.

Creative combat and puzzles

Now that I’ve mentioned combat, it’s time to finally get to the gameplay. Fighting with enemies is, of course, an integral part of it. The combat is turn-based, but not quite classic. The game requires your constant attention, and if you complete the current quick-time events, you will be rewarded for it. Mario will jump on the enemy twice if you press the button at the right time, the hammer will do more damage if you time the impact correctly.

Some of the more advanced abilities depend on successfully completing QTEs, and then there’s the fact that the fights take place on a theater stage and the audience may throw something at you (either a useful item or vice versa, such as a rock), so you’ll have to react to that too . Overall, it livens up the combat in many ways, and I never got tired of it the entire time I played.

This is also thanks to the extremely high variability of enemies, which differ not only in appearance and statistics, but also in their attack methods and what relates to them. This depends on whether they are in the air or on the ground, whether they have spines or even a shell. Each enemy type plays differently, and this also affects how you fight.

On another level are the boss fights, which can be quite tedious and require you to use everything you have. In addition to attacks from Mario and your partners, these are also items or special abilities. In any case, you can adapt the playstyle to your liking. You gradually collect various badges that can improve your party’s stats, but it’s often about a certain balance.

Unique characters you’ll quickly fall in love with

However, various abilities are useful not only in battle. Much of the gameplay consists of traversing locations, where environmental puzzles often await you. As the title suggests, the world here is made entirely of paper, and that’s what the title says most about. Mario will gradually gain the ability to turn 90 degrees and thus pass through narrow gaps, turn into an airplane that can fly over chasms, or into a small boat with which you can cross places full of water.

You’ll also use your friends’ abilities, whether it’s blowing away paper covering a secret entrance, or perhaps knowledge of locations and creatures you’ll meet during your travels. Each partner has something different and is completely different in both ability and character. My personal favorite was Gombella, who is with you from the beginning and is essentially a walking encyclopedia of sorts, and then of course Vivian, who is probably the most popular character for most fans.

Her story is quite interesting, both in the game and in the real world. She is one of the antagonist trio “Shadow Sisters” and only joins Mario later because her older “sister” Beldam bullies her. In the original Japanese version and several other localizations, she is indeed a transwoman, but in the English translation, any hints of this fact on Beldam’s part were completely omitted. This is changed in the remake, and although it is never explicitly stated, it is implied several times that this is indeed the case.

Strength in Diversity

In any case, the variety doesn’t end there. As I already mentioned, individual locations are extremely diverse, and this is reflected not only in appearance, but also in gameplay. While the first chapter still plays quite traditionally, the second has you solving special puzzles, and the third, which takes place in the floating city of Glitzville, completely changes the gameplay for a while. As you become a professional wrestler, you have to reach the highest level and defeat the champion. The remaining chapters also have a lot to offer, be it replacing Mario or the aforementioned train journey where you become a detective for a while.

Moreover, all this is complemented not only by excellent sound, but especially by a fantastic soundtrack. He kept the original game’s tunes and refined them into a greatly modernized form. But the creators didn’t stop there, because the remake offers a number of new tracks. Once again, for classic battles there is no longer one main route, and each location (and sometimes parts of locations) has its own variation. You can go from the classic to a darker, funnier version to an absolutely excellent jazz version. I fell in love with it, as with many other tunes, so much so that out of the 40 hours advertised on the opening screen, I spent about 2 hours solely listening to the music in the menu.


By the way, those 40 hours are definitely not the maximum number. The game offers quite a bit of additional content, be it small side missions or various challenges, led by the “Pit of 100 Challenges” where you have to fight your way through 100 floors without dying or else you have to walk. to come back to the beginning. There’s more than enough content, so it’s a shame that the game sometimes unnecessarily tries to stretch out the playtime with annoying backtracking. And this applies not only to side quests, but also to the main line.

It happens several times that you have to go through a forest full of enemies, only to go back and then back to the other side again. It’s just tedious, and while it doesn’t happen all the time, it can definitely ruin the experience.

Likewise, 20-year-old game design sometimes gets noticed because it may not be entirely clear what you actually need to do to move forward. On the other hand, there were not many such moments, so in the end I would like to emphasize that the game has not aged much over these 20 years.

For fans and new players

Overall, I really enjoyed it, although I’m not one of those players who knows the original. It’s a slightly different RPG, original in many ways, and focused primarily on highly entertaining gameplay in and out of combat. It may not impress anyone with its complex story, but thanks to the well-written and drawn world and characters, that doesn’t really matter. The strengths here completely prevail and I can’t help but recommend the game to Switch owners.


Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

We like

  • Beautiful appearance, both aesthetically and technically.
  • An absolutely fantastic soundtrack, combining different genres, old and new tunes.
  • Extremely diverse locations and changing gameplay
  • Creative environmental puzzles that play with paper and perspective.
  • Very well written dialogues, full of humor, but sometimes with serious topics.
  • Cute characters with unique characteristics and ambitions.
  • A variety of turn-based battles in real time.
  • Very high variety of enemies
  • Generous portion of content
  • A funny story with some unexpected twists…

This worries us

  • …but largely predictable
  • Annoying backtracking
  • A few points that point to old game design

Source :Indian TV

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